How To Answer “What Makes You a Good Candidate for This Job?"
Updated August 16, 2023
Interviewers often ask candidates a few thought-provoking questions. Candidates should prepare in advance to answer these questions effectively and confidently. One example is the question, "What makes you a good candidate for this position?"
In this article, we explain why interviewers ask this question, give examples answers, provide steps to prepare your answer and offer tips for an effective response.
Why employers ask what makes you a good candidate
Hiring managers often ask, "What makes you a good candidate for this position?" to see if you are aware of how your unique skills, experience and education align with the position's responsibilities and duties.
Employers also ask this question in order to:
Determine whether you understand the job's responsibilities
Assess your own confidence in yourself to fulfill the position's duties
Gain insight into how you handle challenges in the workplace
Candidates should be ready to explain why they're a good fit for the position and organization, describing specific accomplishments and distinctive characteristics that will add value to the company.
Mary Morgan, a human resources generalist with over 15 years of experience recruiting, interviewing and placing candidates into all levels of positions, shared her advice about this interview question:
This question may seem daunting but it is the perfect moment to sell yourself. As you detail how your experience will help the team meet its goals, you can also demonstrate your understanding of the company's culture by describing how you think you will fit in well as a team member.
Some interviewers may not ask the question at all, but explaining why you're the best person for the job is still something they will want to know.
Note: Interviewers can phrase the “Why should we hire you?” interview question in several different ways, such as "Why are you the best candidate for this job?" and "Why are you a good fit for this position?"
Related: Smart Answers to Interview Questions
Example answers to "What makes you a good candidate?"
Use these example answers to help structure your own response to the question "What makes you a good candidate for this position?":
Example 1: Executive assistant
"I have worked hard in previous jobs to develop specific and necessary soft skills for this position. I am a highly organized person, which makes me a great choice to manage an executive's calendar. I am extremely personable, so I feel confident handling phone calls and email correspondence. I am also very adaptable. If the executive has a sudden change of plans, I will quickly and confidently handle all the updates to their schedule."
Example 2: Computer programmer
"I have a strong set of skills that uniquely qualify me for this job. I'm well-versed in a wide range of computer programming languages. I recently completed professional development on the latest updates to Python. I'm considered an expert source controller, and I lead training for my colleagues in my last position on best practices for source control. I'm also good at writing tests for my code, so the company won't have to hire an outside tester which will save time and money."
Example 3: Nurse
"I'm an experienced registered nurse with a number of professional accomplishments that make me a great fit for the job. In my last position, I wrote a grant proposal and received funding to complete research on proactive nursing practices. I was also the nurse liaison to the hospital board tasked with communicating the nursing staff's needs to the hospital's leadership. Since I started my career, I try to volunteer at least one day a month at the free clinic downtown to help those in need and assess how the field of nursing can improve proactive measures. I feel these experiences and accomplishments will help me move the nursing staff toward a more proactive patient approach."
Example 4: Lawyer
"I'm an excellent candidate for a partner-track position at this firm. I have years of varied experience that will provide the firm with unique insight. After graduating from law school, I clerked for a federal judge for a year. After that, I joined a prestigious overseas law firm as a contract attorney. I quickly moved into an associate position, where I have been honing my litigation skills for the last five years. I am a fast learner and dedicated to my clients. My experience working for a judge and with a diverse population overseas will add value to the firm."
Example 5: Teacher
"As a teacher, I believe my own education is a valuable asset to my classroom work. After completing my bachelor's degree, I worked in an underperforming school district for three years before returning to school. I earned a master's degree during which I wrote my thesis on low-cost interventions to deter drop-outs. I went back into the classroom full-time and spent the last five years completing my Ph.D. while teaching. My dissertation is an in-depth study of the benefits of external support in improving graduation rates in low-income communities. I can use my research and knowledge to improve student outcomes at this school."
How to prepare an answer to “What makes you a good candidate?”
Your response should be a sales pitch to the hiring manager about yourself. Use these steps to craft an effective response:
1. Determine your strengths
Depending on your experience and the qualifications for the job, you can determine your unique strengths for the position using examples from the following categories:
For example, if you're a recent college graduate, focus on the value your recent education will bring to the company. Think about any new industry knowledge you obtained in your program and any research you completed.
Your research of the company and the position is the key to success when answering this question. Also, you can mention any challenges or issues that are brought up in the interview. Showing your understanding of the issues is another way to show that you are not only qualified but the best fit for the role.
If you're an experienced industry member, consider the skills you've developed through your years of experience.
2. Identify the company's needs
Look at the job description and research the company. See how your specific skills and qualifications align with both the daily duties of the position and the mission and goals of the organization overall. Often you can find the company's mission on its website.
3. Create your shortlist
Review your list of strengths and compare them to the company's needs. Create a shortlist of three or four outstanding qualities that demonstrate your unique qualifications for the position and the value you'll bring to the organization.
4. Write your pitch
Using your shortlist of outstanding strengths, write a concise summary you can share with the hiring manager in the interview. It should sound natural, so make sure the writing reflects your speech patterns.
5. Practice your answer
Practice responding naturally to the question. You want to know how you'll respond in advance, but your spoken answer shouldn't sound unnatural and rehearsed. Have a friend ask you "What makes you a good candidate for the position?" in a few different ways and vary your answers, making sure you explain your main points each time.
Tips for answering "What makes you a good candidate?"
Keep these tips in mind as you respond to the question "What makes you a good candidate for this position?":
Give concrete examples. When possible, give concrete examples of your skills to demonstrate how you'll bring value to the company.
Tie your response to company goals. Mention specifically how you will improve the company with your unique qualifications.
Focus on yourself. Your response should show why you're the best candidate. Avoid mentioning other candidates or why you're better than they are.
Speak confidently. Confidence will demonstrate your certainty that you're the right candidate to hire. Use your answer to this question to let the hiring manager know what unique qualifications set you apart from other applicants.
Be honest. Speak honestly about your qualifications and skills.
Don't forget to ask questions. An interviewer will usually ask if you have any questions at the end of an interview. Asking questions allows you to learn more about the company and leave a strong impression on your interviewer.
Here's a list of related questions you may be asked during an interview:
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